This easy baked gnocchi recipe for 2 is the perfect decadent, romantic Valentine’s Day dinner in that anyone can cook!Jump to Recipe
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If you’re wondering what to cook your girlfriend, boyfriend, fiancé, husband, or wife for a romantic dinner this Valentine’s Day, we have one answer for you: make this easy baked gnocchi recipe for 2! It’s super easy to make, impossible to mess up, and tastes heavenly. Plus, what’s more romantic than an Italian pasta dinner you can both eat out of the same dish?
All you need to make this the perfect date night dinner is two forks, a small baking dish (like this classic Staub), and a bottle of wine. We don’t know a single person who can resist the pillowy texture of this potato pasta, especially when each little bite of gnocchi is smothered in sauce and cheese. Made with classic Italian flavors – tomato, basil, garlic, and red pepper – you can be certain your date will love this baked gnocchi!
Easy Baked Gnocchi Recipe Ingredients
You just need 5 ingredients to make this simple and delicious baked gnocchi recipe for dinner:
- Tomato basil & garlic pasta sauce
- Fresh basil
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
The fresher the gnocchi, the better this dish will taste. If you have a local Italian market, chances are they sell handmade gnocchi – splurge on this for your Valentine’s Day dinner and your tastebuds will thank you! Otherwise, we recommend either the Delallo, Di Martino, or Nuovo Pasta brands for delicious gnocchi you can find at most grocery stores. Tip: You can also make this recipe with mini gnocchi for a fun date night surprise.
We recommend using a store-bought pasta sauce like this one from Target for easy preparation. Adding fresh basil and crushed red pepper flakes to this gnocchi elevates the flavors of the dish with minimal effort, so you can have a restaurant quality date night dinner at home without spending hours in the kitchen.
Of course, baked gnocchi wouldn’t be complete without mozzarella cheese. We recommend shredding it yourself from a block for the best flavor and gooey texture, but you can always grab a bag of shredded cheese from the store if you’re short on time. Just make sure to buy the processed mozzarella, not fresh – read more on this in our FAQs section below.
How To Make Oven Baked Gnocchi
It’s super easy to make this baked gnocchi recipe for 2. You don’t even have to boil the gnocchi first – all you need to do is mix together the ingredients, then bake, garnish, and serve! That’s why this is one of our favorite easy Valentine’s Day dinner recipes. So simple that anyone can make it, even if you have zero cooking experience, but so incredibly delicious.
Here’s how to make our easy oven baked gnocchi:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grab a small oven-safe baking dish, about 6 x 7.5 inches.
- In a large bowl, gently stir together the gnocchi, pasta sauce, chopped basil, and crushed red pepper flakes until combined.
- Add the gnocchi to the baking dish and make sure they are fully covered in sauce. If there are too many exposed gnocchi, add some more pasta sauce to the baking dish and stir gently to incorporate.
- Top the gnocchi with a light layer of shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Bake until the gnocchi are tender and the cheese is bubbly and browned, about 25 to 35 minutes.
- Garnish with additional fresh basil and crushed red pepper flakes, then serve immediately.
We recommend stirring together the gnocchi, sauce, and seasonings in a large mixing bowl so it’s easier to fully coat the gnocchi in the sauce. You can also do this right in the baking dish if you want to minimize the number of dishes used, but we find it makes it more difficult to evenly combine the ingredients.
Note that you want the gnocchi to be covered in pasta sauce – this keeps them moist while they bake in the oven, so you end up with soft, pillowy gnocchi that melt in your mouth. Any gnocchi not covered in sauce will crisp on the outside and have a crunchier texture. Our recipe calls for 1 cup of pasta sauce as a starting point; you may need to add more sauce depending on the size and shape of your baking dish to ensure the gnocchi are fully coated.
Oven Baked Gnocchi FAQs
Q: Can I bake gnocchi without boiling first?
A: Absolutely! Gnocchi can be cooked in a number of ways, and you can easily bake gnocchi without boiling it first.
Q: How does baking gnocchi instead of boiling work?
A: Baking gnocchi in a sauce (like this recipe calls for) works similarly to boiling the gnocchi. As the saucy liquid around them heats up in the oven, the gnocchi will soften and become tender – as long as they stay moist. It is possible to bake gnocchi without a sauce, but this will yield a crispier, crunchier texture.
Q: Can I use fresh mozzarella instead of shredded for oven baked gnocchi?
A: We don’t recommend using fresh mozzarella for this recipe. Fresh mozzarella tends to have a high water content, which means it won’t melt as well and might release excess liquid into your baked gnocchi. Instead, grab a bag of shredded mozzarella or a block of processed mozzarella at the store and shred it yourself.
Q: How do you know when gnocchi is done in the oven?
A: To know if your oven baked gnocchi is done, test it with a fork. Stick the tines of a fork into one or two different gnocchi, and if the fork goes in easily (without resistance) then it’s cooked. However, we always recommend taste-testing a bite to ensure the gnocchi are done to your liking!
Baked Gnocchi Serving Suggestions
For a cozy and romantic date night dinner for 2, we recommend serving this baked gnocchi right out of the baking dish with two forks. You and your SO can sit side-by-side as you enjoy this delicious home cooked Valentine’s Day dinner… and then fight over who gets to eat the last bite 🙂
You can also serve baked gnocchi family-style by bringing the dish to the table with a large serving spoon and a few plates. This is a great option for anyone looking to scale this recipe up and enjoy baked gnocchi as a fun family dinner.
Try our easy baked gnocchi recipe for 2 and make sure to leave a comment and rating to let us know how you (and your date) like it! We hope you love it and share this recipe with anyone you know who might be looking for easy date night dinner ideas.
Love this recipe? You may enjoy these recipes, too:
- Goat Cheese & Tomato Gnocchi
- Burrata Pasta with Blistered Tomatoes
- Italian Sausage & Peppers Pasta
- Easy Baked Penne
Easy Baked Gnocchi Recipe For 2
- 1 lb gnocchi
- 1 cup tomato basil & garlic pasta sauce
- 1 tsp fresh basil finely chopped
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ tsp fresh basil finely chopped
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, gently stir together uncooked gnocchi, pasta sauce, chopped basil, and crushed red pepper flakes until combined.
- Transfer gnocchi to a small baking dish and ensure the gnocchi are covered in pasta sauce. Depending on the size of your baking dish, you may need to add more pasta sauce to fully coat the gnocchi. Then, cover the gnocchi with a light layer of shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Bake until the gnocchi are tender and the cheese is golden-brown, about 25 to 35 minutes. Garnish with additional chopped basil and red pepper flakes, then serve immediately.